Friday, December 26, 2014

Nine Dear Jane Triangles

I have been diligently working on my "Dear Jane" triangle blocks for the border. I've gotten 9 more finished and have 6 more partially done and waiting for handwork. Six more patterns have been drafted and fabrics selected. Many of them are paper pieced, but have many tiny pieces and it takes quiet a while to finish one block.
I just love playing in my boxes of vintage fabric. Most of it is from the 1920-1940s, some feed sacks, some skirt trimmings from dresses as the hemlines went up, and other pieces pre-cut into squares and hexagons that never made it into their quilts. If you look closely at the blue fabric, you can see the flowers have legs and arms and are dancing figures. The black, white & pink fabric is just plain fun. I've made 2 large quilt tops from my vintage collection, and several smaller wall hangings, and I am running out of larger scraps to make the triangles. The triangles take more fabric than the 5" blocks, this is one of the reasons I wasn't sure about making the fancy border. Besides knowing all the extra work involved in doing 52 triangles and 4 corner kite shapes. I think I've gotten a good start on the triangles this week, and I'm almost ready to drop them and move on to something more artsy. Still 10 days of vacation left! Whoopee!

I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click on the badge in the right hand column and see what other talented textile artists have been doing this week.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Kahlua/Brandy Truffles

A few of my dark chocolate Kahlua/Brandy truffles, there are more that I'm still rolling into balls. They won't win any beauty contests, perfect balls are not happening, they are too gooey to roll nicely. Of course these are the 3rd batch, the first two magically disappeared! The 1st was just brandy, whew! strong, the 2nd just Kahlua, rich but mild, the 3rd is a combo of Kahlua and brandy, like the 3 bears, these are just right. I've given away most of them, but I sneak at least one every evening, maybe after lunch, before lunch, every time I walk through the dinning room is more like it. EVERYONE HAVE A GREAT HOLIDAY WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY!! I'm going to be doing lots of sewing, being off of work for 2 weeks this time of year, is shear luxury.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Dear Jane Triangles

As much as I like Art Quilting, VERY MUCH, I also love traditional quilting. I recently saw a new Dear Jane group on Facebook, and they inspired me to make the border triangles. I have all the blocks done, but not sashed, and I was going to pass on the fancy border. A lot of the border triangles can be done with paper piecing, but many need hand sewn details, diamonds, and football shapes. My hands are hurting more than ever, after 2 years of being good enough to hand sew again. So I don't know when I'll get all the little details done. The piecing, I am doing with the sewing machine, people who are hand piecing their Dear Janes are gluttons for punishment. There are many talented people who are doing theirs by hand tho. I have 2 weeks off for Christmas break, so this is a good time to work on them. I finished up 9 blocks so far, and have several others, just waiting for the hand sewing.
There are 52 triangle blocks, and 4 corner kite shapes. The fabric I am using is all vintage from the 1920-1940s, as well as all the solids. I have only used new muslin for 2 blocks, when I did not have a suitable solid. I don't have any delusions about getting all the triangles done in 2 weeks, but as many as I can, just to get a good start on them. Then I can work on the applique when my hands feel better. The last photo is my fabric selections and patterns drawn out for the next set of blocks. Everyone have a wonderful holiday time, and a happy New Year. I'm going back to work on making Dark Chocolate Kahlua Truffles.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Prayer Flags

I had the luxury of not having Thanksgiving company, so no hurry to get dinner done. The house was clean and we were going to eat late, so I was able to play most of the morning. I told my husband not to bother me much, I was going to have my hands covered in paint and could not jump to help him every minute. And he listened, he gave me some uninterrupted time in my sewing room.
When my sister was here, she had seen my resist dyed fabric and commented that they would make great prayer flags, hint, hint, wink. So that thought was in my head, I dragged out my box of Gelli Plate printed fabric instead. I had tons of fabric I had printed, but did not know what to do with it, all 8 x 10 inches. Just perfect for prayer flags.
So I cut 14 pennant style flags, if I make one I might as well make 2. Then I cut a few more, and a few more, and so on. I might as well use all the fabric that I'd printed, I'm not going to use it for anything else. This is when my OCD manifests itself. The fabric was pretty, but needed some help. Several months ago I had made a bunch of "word" stamps with precut alphabet foam shapes, again the perfect combination, I love it when a plan comes together! I spent Thanksgiving morning stamping words onto all the flags, soul song, dream magic, fly, hope, laugh, try play, trust, be love, all sorts of combinations, onto 50 flags. Yes 50, I think big, by now I was thinking Christmas presents.
It is SO MUCH FUN being creative, I was in the "Zone." I threw the turkey in the oven about noon, and kept right on going. My husband had an old movie marathon going on TV, and I kept him supplied with beer.
Now the flags needed more, some of the dark prints needed lightening up, some of the blah ones, needed accents. More is better when you are talking paint layers, depth, complexity, and metallic gold, silver and copper. I embellished them Thursday afternoon, and all Friday morning. I'm on a roll! My husband knew I was feeling good, and knew I needed some time to myself, his constant care had been hard on me.
I decided that I wanted to have 7 on a string instead of 5, so I began with a drawer full of binding scraps, sewing them all end to end, and ironing them into a double fold bias binding. I stitched the edges closed and inserted the flags in the same step, so it went pretty quickly. They ended up about 8 feet long, with a 12" tie on either end. I left the edges of the flags unfinished, they are made to flap and fray in the wind. Although with all the paint on them, I doubt they will fray much. At this point my energy was lagging, but I knew I had to finish them all, or the last ones would end up in a pile on my sewing table for "someday" to come
Here are some detail photos, I used a lot of sequin waste with white paint to lighten, and a few botanical stencils to add more interest, there are still some not so pretty, but that's ok, and it is hard to pick my favorite.
I hung them on my living room drapes to take pics, but I am too far away to see any detail, so won't post all of them, but I had so much fun, having most of two days to play with paint and create. It was a very relaxing holiday. Oh, by the way we did get turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, with home made dinner rolls. Just the basics, 'cause hubby doesn't like yams or cranberries, if you can't cover it in gravy, he doesn't care for it. I hope everyone's time with family was wonderful, my niece all ready posted on Facebook her 3 mile walk, show off!

I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" to see what other wonderful textile artists have done, click on the badge in the right hand column.

Monarch Finished

The Monarch is finished, this photo shows the background color better. The orange of the wings is veined, and the flower detail is better with the stitching. I like the simplicity of the Monarch design, not too much to distract you from the main object.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Monarch of the Glen

For several years now, I have been trying to use my photographs for quilt patterns. When I got the new Fuji digital camera, I was really jazzed about it, I took loads of pictures. These butterflies were at the Elkton, Oregon, Butterfly Gardens, part of the Elkton Community Education Center. They have an enclosure where they breed butterflies and raise the cocoons, It is heaven for photographing, but they still flit away as soon as I get the focus adjusted on my camera. For my pattern, I took the plant material from one photo and the butterfly from another.
This is the full photo, as I traced it, but I thought it was too much blank space and not enough butterfly.
So I cropped it horizontally, and focused on the butterfly. I did add a few more leaves, as most had gotten cropped out of the bottom of the pic. I like the strong diagonal lines, and the balance of the butterfly hanging off the bottom of the branch.
I began with some of my hand dyed sky fabrics, I choose the lighter, almost turquoise fabric for the background. It sort of washed out in the photos, but it is a clear blue. Since I don't dye many orange fabrics, I was worried I wouldn't have the right orange, but I did. All the other fabrics are my hand dyed ones, except the black and the body. I had to simplify the flower shapes, 'cause they were too jumbled up. I could not tell if they were red or yellow flowers. I finally decided they were red petals, and the yellow part was the center of the flower, that popped up when it bloomed.
I used "Wonder Under" fusible web, to trace my pattern pieces and fuse to the fabric, and raw edge applique to hold it all down. When you have very specific shapes, the fusible is the best way to transfer patterns and get every thing to fit back together. I am a little bored with it now, after doing the ram and the butterfly. It is like paint by numbers, once the fabrics are picked out it goes together with out much creativity. Thread painting helps the creative process, but this one was simple and boring. I enjoyed the doing the ram more, because the fabric choices were more important.
Most of the time I use muslin on the back with an off white bobbin thread, but I decided to use matching colors in the bobbin. The background area, I used a "teardrop" pattern of free motion quilting.
The name of the wall hanging came from a TV series, from the BBC, called "Monarch of the Glen" the monarch on the show is the Laird of a Highlands Scottish Castle, trying to make the castle pay it's way, in this modern day and age. My husband and I have been thoroughly enjoying it, as TV watching is about all he can do. So we make popcorn and watch 1 or 2 episodes every night. I am almost done with the binding, then I'll post the finished pic.

I'll post this on Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday," click on the badge on the right hand column to see what other VERY talented artists have been doing in textiles.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Tie Dye Party

Last Sunday several (non-quilty) friends came over for a tie dye session. While the fabric soaked in the soda ash bucket, we prepared the dyes. 2 Tbsp of Urea in each pint bottle, with 4 or 8 tsp of dye powder, depending on the color. We made up 3 yellow, 2 turquoise, 2 fuchsia, green, black, deep purple, burgundy, fire engine red and a dark mix of an unknown(black or dark green), jet black and navy. Bonny, our tie dye guru, led us on the tieing session. She showed us how to tie a heart, a spiral, and a chevron. I showed them how to roll a T-shirt on a PVC pipe to do Shibori.
We set up at the side of the yard, with wire racks, to squirt the dye on the rubber banded bundles.
Susan dyeing her spiral bundle.
Amy's tied heart bundle.
Jenny got her self up off the ground for easier dyeing.
Amy and Susan's Shibori dyeing on the PVC pipe.
After we were done with our shirts, we had dye leftover, Bonny took what she needed to do more at home, and that left us 4 bottles of dye. I had soaked about a 3 yard piece of muslin in the soda ash, and I hung it over a swing frame. We each took a bottle of dye, yellow, fuchsia, turquoise and the odd black mix, and squirted it on the fabric to run down in streaks. The brilliant colors were like stained glass, as it dripped we added more, here and there to sort of balance the colors.
The dark colors were a beautiful deep purple, navy, rust, brick red, lots of depth as it blended with the brighter colors.
The proud dye team, Jenny, Bonny, Amy and Susan. Every one went home with the shirts in gallon zip lock bags, with directions to wait until tomorrow, then heat set the dye in the microwave for 2 minutes each, rinse until the water is clear, then launder with Synthropol.
My Shibori shirt came out great, with diagonal turquoise, green and dark green.
The rainbow spiral is my favorite, the colors blended well and the pattern is clear.
Can you see the heart? I can't, the rubber bands must have shifted a bit when I tied it. But I do like the colors, burgundy, fuchsia, and some cobalt blue. The last two are going to be over dyed later, they are very splotchy, the colors did not blend and there is too much white. One is the chevron fold with accordion pleats, the other a quarter fold with each corner tied. I can't decide if it looks like a clown threw up or a confetti machine exploded!
The fabric came out great, nice rich colors at the top, but the bottom washed out a bit, the dyes were probably exhausted by the time they dripped to the bottom. But the blend of colors is wonderful anyway. The photo is only half the width and length, it is really a large piece of fabric.
Susan and her husband Larry, show off two of the T-shirts that she dyed.

I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click on the badge in the right hand column to see what other wonderful artists are doing.

After the tie dyeing was finished, the ladies had brought the guys along too. They had gotten a good fire going in the fire pit, and we sat around all afternoon, several other couples came and we made a party of it. We BBQ'd burgers, hot dogs, and had lots of yummy side dishes. My husband Charlie had a great time, he was well enough to walk down the back stairs with just a cane, and the guys brought down his wheelchair for him to sit in. When I upgraded to a party, he kept mumbling "too many people," but he really enjoyed himself and had a special day. We went into the early evening, I being the only one who had to work the next morning.